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Southern California Thomas Brand can continue to grow if strong gusts of wind back

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California Thomas Fire now 50 percent contained

Firefighters take advantage of calmer winds; the officials think that the Thomas Fire will keep spreading until the largest in history, for full containment, which is expected by January 7.

The second-largest forest fire in state history burning in Southern California can continue to grow if strong winds return to the region on Thursday, after the fire brigade has, for the past two days trying to get the giant eruption.

The wildfire, which began on Dec. 4., has burned, respectively 272 000 hectares and destroyed at least 750 homes, is now 60 percent contained, but still threatens the 18,000 structures.

Firefighters have spent the last two days to take advantage of calmer weather to build containment lines and extinguish hot spots, but gusts of wind from the north almost 60 mph expected extreme fire danger conditions for Santa Barbara County on Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

6 AM wind overview for the last 12 hours over SW California. A few sites in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara County Mountains reached about 58 miles last evening through the overnight hours. #cawx #Social #LAwind #LAweather https://t.co/rMaZciuT2c

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) December 21, 2017

Firefighters so far could get from the Santa Barbara side of the fire, Battalion Chief Chris Childers of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department said during a meeting on Wednesday.

In this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire, Santa Barbara County Firefighters away from dozens of pounds of hose and equipment down a steep slope under the E. Camino Cielo to eradicate and extinguish smoldering hot spots in Santa Barbara, California, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire department via AP)

“The wind test,” Childers said. “It will be the test to see whether we have done what is right.”

Ventura County, where the fire initially started, is forecast to experience 40 to 50 mph winds on Thursday and Friday. The officials have not yet determined what led to the eruption.

THOMAS FIRE IN THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA JOINS LIST OF DESTRUCTIVE BLOOMS IN THE STATE

In this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire department, firefighters follow a hose line while walking, rugged and scorched terrain under E. Camino Cielo in the vicinity of Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara, California, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire department via AP)

“If there is an ember that has been there for a day or two that is still glowing, that can be a real risk if the wind starts to blow,” fire information officer Brandon Vaccaro told the Associated Press.

Firefighters are stationed to provide structure protection above Montecito and other hillside communities in Santa Barbara County, where the latest round of heavy gusts of wind rekindled the flames, and forced new evacuations last weekend

#ThomasFire [update] north of Santa Paula (Ventura and Santa Barbara County) is now 272,200 acres and 60% contained. Unified Command: CAL FIRE, @VCFD_PIO, @LosPadresNF, @VenturaCityFD, and Santa Barbara County Fire (@EliasonMike). pic.twitter.com/yLPNoZarzf

— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) December 21, 2017

Some residents watched from afar, in hotels and evacuation centres, while others are waiting in their homes and hoping for the best.

Tiffany Fariseo, who returned home Wednesday for the first time in a week, told the Los Angeles Times is a power failure had spoiled her food, including two turkeys they had blocked for a christmas dinner.

“This is really us behind,” she told the newspaper. “When you live paycheck to paycheck, this impacts you much harder.”

SANTA ANA WINDS: WHAT ARE THEY?

Katy and Bob Zappala have had in their home in Santa Barbara, about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles, despite an evacuation order that’s been around since Saturday.

In this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire department, CAL Inmate FIRE Firefighting Hand Crew members walk through the charred landscape on their way to work east of Gibraltar Road above Montecito, California, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire department via AP)

“Our cars are packed, we have all of our clothes and jewelry, so we are ready to leave at a moment’s notice, we must have,” Katy Zappala, 74, told the AP Wednesday.

The Zappalas and their cat, Madeline, is still not out of the house because the evacuation order was issued because the government would not allow them back in. They start to run out of food and hope that if they make it through the next wave of the wind, the ordeal is over.

In this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire department, pilot takes his firefighting helicopter back to fill the bucket with water while working in the vicinity of Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara, California, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire department via AP)

“You’re always nervous when the wind come,” Zappala said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

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